Why You Should Avoid Cloaking Technique in SEO?

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cloaking
cloaking graphical illustration

Cloaking Technique:

A cloaking technique is of providing different content to the search engines and user. It provides users with a different result rather than providing what they have expected.  In other words, the definition of the cloak is, the web server is specially programmed to return different content to search engines than it returns to regular users, in an attempt to distort search engine rankings by making a cloak content. The main reason why developers or SEO analyst going for cloaking is to get higher ranking in google. To make the website successful, SEO is an important factor. But it takes time and also have to spend money for that. In this case, cloaking is made to get rankings in the search engines.

For cloaking, every page in a website is duplicated and designed in such a way that it will get higher ranking in the search engines. Once cloaking is made, then if a visitor browses with a certain URL the corresponding page is displayed but for the search engines, the specially created page will be displayed.

White Hat and Black Hat SEO:

White Hat SEO:

It is a process of writing content to the visitors, not to the search engines. These techniques include analyzing competitors ranking, editing meta tags, keyword research and website redesign. White Hat SEO takes more time to get ranking in the search engines. In this, the visitors and search engines will see the same content and also all the search engine rules are followed by those who are doing white hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO:

Black Hat SEO mainly focuses on search engines but not on the visitors. It violates the rules of search engines. There is a possibility of getting banned by the search engines.The technique includes,

Doorway Pages: The pages will be visible only to the search engines not to the visitors

Invisible Text: Placing text on a white background to make search engines believe that the website has rich content. Repeating unrelated phrases, keywords etc without proper formatting to achieve fast results by search engines. Cloaking comes under black Hat SEO.

Cloaking is made based on IP-address, User Agent, and Browser type. In IP address based cloaking a particular script is injected to determine the IP address of the visitor and based on the IP address, the different version of a website is displayed. And also different pages are displayed based on the terms used for searching and the browser type like whether they have enabled javascript and cookies or disabled.

Php File Cloaking:

Php file cloaking is the simplest way of cloaking by which the PHP file is created in some directory and the below code is added.

<?php

header( ‘Location: xxxxxxxxxxxxx’ ) ;

?>

Instead of XXXXX, you have to place the URL that needs to be cloaked. Any number of Url’s can be used.

htaccess Link Cloaking:

The htaccess file is a text file which gives web host instruction to the server. Cloaking can be done through .htaccess file also. In this, the redirection script is added which contains the link name and the URL. And you have to change the file permission to 755.

For example:

redirect xxxxx/ http://www.yyyyyy.com/

where XXXX is the link name and  http://www.yyyyyy.com/ is the URL.

Who Needs Cloaking?

  • Search Engine does not accept the flash and animation based websites. So instead of doing website redesign with HTML text, those developers are using cloaking techniques.
  • Websites with more photo gallery also using the same technique.
  • Then websites with less HTML content.

Commonly cloaking is made in the .htaccess file with the help of mod_rewrite module in apache. The search engines IP address is analyzed and the content displayed to that particular IP address is different and to other visitors. Some content is displayed at the same URL.

ServerCake focuses on security and quality of each website. Cloaking is not recommended as it violates the rules of search engines. ServerCake monitors each and every file for security. If any suspicious script injection is found, we will notify the users. ServerCake clients are advised not to use cloaking techniques.

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